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Cabinet will rally round Boris Johnson after local elections test: Ministers are expected to back Prime Minister and insist he’s the right man for job… even if Tories get slaughtered at the polls
- The Cabinet are set to rally round Boris Johnson as the ‘right leader’
- Ministers will hit the airwaves to argue he should stay on as Prime Minister
- Allies of Mr Johnson are preparing a counter-offensive in case rebel Tories seek to use bruising results as an excuse to pounce
Ministers will hit the airwaves to argue he should stay on as Prime Minister – no matter how bad the poll results are.
The Conservatives were last night braced to lose hundreds of councillors around the country, but were hopeful that support might hold up in Red Wall areas.
Allies of Mr Johnson are preparing a counter-offensive in case rebel Tories seek to use bruising results as an excuse to pounce.
They will try to soothe nerves among backbenchers by arguing the PM has got the ‘big calls right’ and is the best person to navigate the economy through ‘choppy water ahead’.
A Cabinet source said: ‘Boris delivered Brexit, got us through Covid, and is now right at the front of the global response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Boris Johnson arrives with his dog Dilyn to vote at a polling station in London, for local council elections, Thursday, May 5
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer and wife Victoria leave home to vote
‘He is absolutely the right leader to take Britain forward.’
Millions of voters cast their ballots yesterday as council seats in large swathes of the country were up for grabs.
In England more than 4,000 council seats were contested across 146 councils including in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and all 32 London boroughs.
All 32 councils in Scotland and all 22 in Wales also held elections.
Polls suggested the Conservatives could do badly in the so-called Blue Wall, their traditional heartlands in southern England.
But most telling will be whether the party manages to prevent Labour making a significant comeback in the Red Wall areas, which switched from red to blue for the first time at the 2019 general election.
A failure by Sir Keir Starmer to reverse Tory advances in these areas could fuel questions about his leadership.
The Labour leader had sought to make the local elections campaign about the Partygate row after Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined by police.
But this appeared to backfire in recent days as he struggled to answer questions about a lockdown gathering in Durham last year when he was pictured swigging beer.
The PM is expected to delay a reshuffle of his Cabinet until the summer as it is believed he wants to be clear of the Partygate scandal before resetting his team
The Prime Minister yesterday appeared to be in good spirits as he arrived to cast his vote in Westminster accompanied by his dog Dilyn. Sir Keir voted in Kentish Town, north London, while Sir Ed Davey voted in Surbiton, south-west London.
The Liberal Democrats leader said the Conservatives would be punished in the local elections for their handling of the cost of living crisis.
Mr Johnson will attempt to get on the front foot next Tuesday as his Government’s legislative agenda is set out in the Queen’s Speech.
The PM is expected to delay a reshuffle of his Cabinet until the summer as it is believed he wants to be clear of the Partygate scandal before resetting his team.
But yesterday there was speculation he could call a snap general election before the end of this year over fears the economic picture could get much worse.
Source: Daily Mail